Patellofemoral Knee Pain – Kneecap Pain
NASPE/NCAT Sport Injury Resource
The patella, also called the kneecap, floats within a grove formed at the end
of the femur (thigh bone). Patellofemoral pain is a common term used when pain
is experienced under or around the kneecap. Usually pain develops over time
and is usually experienced when moving the knee from a bent to straight position
or with weight-bearing activities such as running, squatting, going up/down
stairs, and/or kneeling (the patella does not track properly within the grove).
This injury has the potential to become serious. If the athlete experiences
pain around the kneecap, do not ignore it. Send him or her to see a Certified
Athletic Trainer or medical specialist.
Prevention: As a coach or parent, there are several preventative
measures you can take to limit the onset of patellofemoral knee pain:
- Make sure the athletes wear appropriate shoes for the sport.
- Make sure athletic shoes have good arch support.
- If your athletes run for conditioning, vary their routes so they are not
always running on the same side of a sloped road or change directions if running
on a track.
- Include an appropriate leg strengthening program in the weight room, enhancing
both the quadriceps (thigh muscles) and hamstrings.
- Include a warm-up and cool-down period during practice, with flexibility
exercises as part of the routine, especially during cool-down (quadriceps; hamstring;
hip flexors; calf).
- Be firm on proper running and jumping techniques.
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